We Would Strike!: Beyond Representation in a Post-Industrial Town

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On 30 July 1984, 11 mercury miners locked down in the mines of Almadén (Ciudad Real, southern Spain) to protest against their precarious economic and social conditions. 650 metres deep inside the oldest and most productive mercury mines in world history, the miners endured the dark and contaminated galleries for 11 days and nights until their claims were addressed. As an emigrated local filmmaker, I come back to post-industrial Almadén in 2019 to make a documentary film about the mining strike. The premise is to find young locals willing to live inside the now-closed mines for 11 whole days in homage to the older miners and to recreate the experience of 1984, 35 years later.
This exposition explores the potential of documentary film fieldwork to take on a different relationship to normal life that the same or similar events would have as ‘untransformed reality’ – a strike versus the reenactment of a strike – and its potential for activism and social transformation. I will also explore the use of the conditional tense in documentary; a speculative and hypothetical approach to reality sensitive to the ‘potentially’ real, the ‘possible’, and the ‘what if’ as modes of documentation. What happens when the forms of ‘documentary’ and ‘reenactment’ are exceeded, and act upon the world rather than only represent it?
Original languageEnglish
JournalVIS - Nordic Journal for Artistic Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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